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Friday, June 10, 2011

Super 8 Review

Why didn’t we love this movie? Why was it not mint? Why did it not earn the A we totally wanted to give it? Ten minutes after leaving the theater, one of us ran into a friend at the gas station and he asked us how it was. Response? A shrug and an, "It was OK." We're in the minority though, so feel free to argue.

We love the star Kyle Chandler, we love Steven Speilberg, we love nostalgia, we love J.J. Abrams’ creations and his attitude. This movie has an 83% on RottenTomatoes (which is the perfect rating, because it’s not high enough to be pretentious Oscar/critics’ fodder and it’s not low enough to be crap). It has great special effects, it’s sci-fi, there are some humorous bits, it has a good message, it’s touching, you can catch a brief glimpse of Amanda Foreman, the characters were good, and it’s entertaining. So what’s wrong? Were our expectations just too high due to hype?

Let’s start listing gripes then.

1) It wasn’t scary enough for adults. Everything J.J. does is going to get compared to his greatest creation, LOST, so we’re going to go ahead and do that. The great thing about lost was how eerie it was. Come on, LOST fans. LOST was creepy as ****, no? Super 8 had some jumps, but no real scares. The only reason they hid the object was so that it wouldn’t seem stupid to just immediately whip out something ludicrous. That’s a good idea, but the badness was like a reject from MANY other movies.

2) So maybe it’s for kids? Wrong. It’s not scary enough for adults, but it’s not clean enough for the kiddies due to language alone. These kids cuss as much as real kids and a stoner says the “F” word. And, of course, there is a heap of violence. This movie is perfect for the middle school and young teen crowd. Boys and girls ages 12-15 are going to love this movie. Sadly, we’re older than that.

3) We’ve seen this movie before. Usually we don’t mind when moviemakers borrow from other movies, as long as the result is incredible fun. Example: Tarantino. But this movie wasn’t quite good enough to excuse it from its imitations, and it brought nothing new to the table.

4) We got bored in some places. Granted, we watch a lot of TV, so our attention spans are not what they used to be, so this might not be a problem for some people. But we’re just throwing it out there.

5) We wanted the story or something in the movie to have more mystery and wonder. It’s lacking that magic that makes sci-fi and fantasy so intriguing. Once again, it was all just too familiar. There were no surprises or shocks at all. While we cared about the characters and their relationships, we weren’t invested in the action and the tension just wasn’t there. We didn’t get swept up in the movie. The events are not involving. We are going to forget about Super 8 as soon as we finish this review, and we won’t likely think about it again unless someone brings it up. We like movies that stick with us days after you leave the theater.

It seems like Abrams is repeating himself, and we are starting to chalk up his success to other people (his LOST writers) as he continues to churn out the disappointments. First was Alias, then Undercovers. First LOST, and now he's going back to an island for Alcatraz (of course we will be watching that anyway). Now we have Super 8. This is better than Cloverfield though. This guy can create some great stuff, but he's not one of our most-trusted creators anymore.

Bottom line: It’s not bad, but unless you are a 13-year-old boy, it’s not making your favorite movies list. The story just isn't there. Lots of specific things and moments worked, but as an overall experience, it's kind of a mess.

Movie Grade: B-


  1. Are there spoilers in the review? I want to read it but you know, I don't want spoilers hehe and the movie is opening until August in Mexico.

  2. Nope. If there are ever spoilers or if we want to discuss the ending, we do it in the comments and put a warning. So steer clear of comments, usually, when it's a movie review.

  3. I hardly ever look for movies to watch. (ever since I started watching quality TV: Breaking Bad, Justified, Sons of Anarchy, Pretty Little Liars, The Vampire Diaries, Mad Men etc) I might give Super 8 a shot though.

  4. We know what you mean. TV just has more time to really weave a good yarn. Let us know if you liked it better than we did. As it stands, we think the best things in theaters right now are Bridesmaids and X-Men.